What is LeoTech?

At LeoTech, we “hear the voices that matter.” But what does that mean? How do our products support not only police but entire communities, including inmates in jails and prisons? This is the first post in a series about our company, our people, and the critical needs behind our work.

LeoTech from the beginning

Our company was founded by law enforcement officers (LEOs) committed to law enforcement reform.  These LEOs saw the gaps left by using outdated practices and the need to bring policing into modern times. They saw firsthand how inmate phone services in jails and prisons routinely recorded phone calls but never gave LEOs an easy, non-biased way to search for important information within specific calls. Millions of minutes of recorded phone calls could not be accessed except through hours of listening—hours that no agency or facility could spare.

At the same time, they knew that these phone calls contained valuable intelligence. This intelligence could be related to existing investigations or could be used to intervene in ongoing crime. Cries for help from vulnerable inmates were also hidden within these phone calls, information that could potentially save lives.

Filling the resource gap

LeoTech developed Verus as a way to fill this resource gap. Using the power of artificial intelligence, Verus uses non-biased Natural Language Processing to enable not only searches of phone call transcripts but proactive alerts on keywords.

Most importantly, Verus was developed to be a non-biased, objective tool. The natural language processing technology behind AI focuses only on the actual words transcribed from a phone call—not the caller’s identity. Verus has no way to search calls by federally protected classes such as race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality. Investigators may only search for calls by objective data, such as inmate name, date of call, or keyword.

Soon our company expanded into Warden, a complementary tool that detects illicit mobile phones in jails and prisons. The dangers of these contraband phones are well-known: enabling violence and smuggling within facilities and helping inmates plan crimes in outside communities.

Sharing information, caring for inmate well-being

LeoTech prides itself on working with law enforcement agencies that are willing to share information and are open to progressive ideas in policing. We partner with innovative area crime centers that share information across multiple jurisdictions and agencies at all levels. Transparency with the intelligence gained from Verus is important to us.

Concern for inmate safety and health is critical for our company. Our CEO, Scott Kernan, is the former Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he worked to reduce the inmate population and remove harsh isolation policies.

LeoTech knows that inmates often do not feel comfortable asking the people to whom they have been entrusted for the help they need. Inmates may speak more frankly in phone calls to friends and family. Because of immediate keyword alerts, Verus helps support inmate physical health, mental health, and safety. In 2019 alone, Verus was involved in 88 suicide prevention incidents in multiple facilities. Verus has also helped identify inmates going through opioid withdrawal or who were threatened by sexual assault. The immediate information from Verus allowed staff to proactively connect at-risk inmates with critical services.

Please check back with us regularly as we explore topics such as inmate health, privileged communications, and why the U.S. Constitution is at the heart of our work.

COVID-19: Correctional Leaders Association Resources Made Live

March 20, 2020, Washington, DC – The Correctional Leaders Association (CLA), a partner of LeoTech, has put together a page of resources, solutions, products, and services for correctional leaders during this time of crisis. The page includes a fact sheet detailing how Verus by Leotech is currently supporting facilities from California to New York to Alabama. The page also lists COVID-19 links and updates from agencies and organizations around the country.

Please visit the CLA COVID-19 Resource page today to learn more.

LeoTech and Verus: Supporting Our Nation’s Correctional Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this unprecedented time, today’s correctional facilities are a risk. Verus, created by LeoTech, is playing a key role in protecting inmates, correctional personnel, and first responders.

Verus is a cutting-edge, AI-based technology that produces near real-time intelligence from inmate phone calls based on keywords and phrases. It automatically downloads, analyzes, and transcribes all recorded inmate calls, proactively flagging them for review.

Right now, Verus is supporting jails and prisons through:

  • Medical Surveillance and Monitoring: Phone calls recorded and flagged by Verus help personnel identify sick inmates.
  • Enhanced Facility Security: As manpower is down, Verus helps jails and prisons identify problems proactively and assign staff where the need is most critical.
  • Enhanced Safety for Inmates and Staff: In addition to medical monitoring, intelligence from Verus mitigates potential violence—including potential COVID-19-related murders.
  • Community Support: Intelligence from Verus supports patrols and investigations as community fears and anxieties escalate.

Incidents related to Covid-19

In each of the incidents related below, keyword searches and alerts led to inmate phone calls containing critical, immediately actionable information. (Note: The phone calls quoted contain the actual language used and may be graphic, inciting, or racially insensitive.)

Rumors of infectious disease

Keywords: “disease in here”

Location: California

An inmate explained to the call recipient that another inmate across the hall had been sick with “that disease.”

Inmate: “You know that disease is in here, huh.”

Recipient: “Are you kidding?”

Inmate: “The teacher told my cellie today that someone across the hall has had it.”

Threat of Violence

Keywords: “kill him”

Location: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Metro Area Crime Center (MACC), Alabama

An inmate discussed fear of the coronavirus and said that inmates planned to kill anyone who was discovered to have the virus in order to contain the spread.

Inmate: “They’re going to try and kill them, the other inmates are going to kill the ones that got it, that way it won’t spread.”

Inmate Health

Keywords: “might have corona”

Location: Oxford Police Department, East Metro Area Crime Center (EMACC), Alabama

An inmate explained to his girlfriend that he was sick and showed multiple symptoms of the virus.

Inmate: “I’ve been so damn tired, my body hurt man, I’ve been so tired I just want to go to sleep…My head hurt, my throat hurt, my back hurt. Fuck man! This shit sucks!

Recipient: “You might have the coronavirus.”

Officer Safety

Keyword: “coughing”

Location: Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), New York

An inmate declared that inmates would begin coughing on guards if coronavirus was discovered in the jail.

Inmate: “N***s said, if the coronavirus hit the jail, they gonna start coughing on the COs.”

Sick Inmate

Keyword: “coughing”

Location: Oxford Police Department, EMACC, Alabama

An inmate stated he had symptoms of the coronavirus.

Recipient: “Really ain’t got a lot of symptoms you know, just telling everybody to stay away from somebody coughing and sneezing and just like really flu symptoms.”

Inmate: “Well, that’s what I got then.”

Public Health

Keyword: “sneezing”

Location: Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), New York

A call recipient expressed the growing health concerns and fear around the neighborhood, as well as people’s reactions to people sneezing around them.

Recipient: “This really going to be a problem for people though. Because like people are just walking around sneezing. They might get shot for shit like that.”

Health Watch

Keyword: “cough”

Location: Montgomery Police Department, Alabama

A caller and an inmate discussed symptoms.

Inmate: “I got a horrible cough. Started coughing last night.”

Recipient: “Shit.”

Inmate: “And I feel like I’m coming down with a cold.”

Recipient: “Go to the doctor.”